Lifting and Carrying

Whether you're lifting your kids out of the bath or carrying the groceries to your car, making your everyday movements more stable and efficient can reduce fatigue, prevent injury, and avoid pain. When it comes to movement you generally want to:
  • Keep your neck and spine in a straight, stable position and let your hip and shoulder muscles do the moving
  • Keep objects close to your body - it gives you better leverage
  • Avoid doing anything repetitively without taking a break to rest or stretch
  • Avoid trying to be a hero - if you need to take two trips or ask for help, do that.
With that in mind, let's look at how you can improve your movement.

Lifting

When it comes to lifting an object off the floor, you have two main options:
  1. “The Squat” - this requires keeping your back straight while bending your knees and hips until you can reach the object with your hands to lift - the key points are:
    1. Position your feet hip-width apart (or slightly wider) with your toes turned slightly out (up to you how much)
    2. Keep your lower back straight or lightly arched the entire time
    3. Bend at your hips and knees equally - imagine you’re sitting back onto a chair behind you
    4. Keep your chest and head up to keep your upper back and neck straight
    5. Once you grasp the object with your hands, squeeze your shoulders together and imagine grip something tightly in your armpits (activates your back muscles)
    6. Now use your legs (not your back) to lift back up
  1. “The Bend" - this requires keeping your back straight while bending forward mainly from the hips until you can reach the object. With your hands to lift - the key points are:
    1. Position your feet hip-width apart (or slightly wider) with your toes turned slightly out (up to you how much)
    2. Keep your lower back straight or lightly arched the entire time
    3. Unlock your knees but mainly bend at your hips - imagine you’re trying to touch the wall behind you with your butt (it takes practise)
    4. Keep your chest and head up to keep your upper back and neck straight
    5. Once you grasp the object with your hands, squeeze your shoulders together and imagine grip something tightly in your armpits (activates your back muscles)
    6. Now use your butt and hamstrings (not your back) to lift back up

Carrying

Once you have successfully lifted something, you probably have to carry it somewhere. Whether you have to carry it in one hand or two, the recommendations are about the same:
  • Make sure you have a firm grip on the object so it doesn’t slip
  • Keep it as close to your body as possible (better leverage)
  • Keep your head and chest up with your shoulders pulled slightly back
  • Keep your elbows straight (if appropriate e.g. carrying groceries)
  • Keep your back straight (don’t lean too much forwards/backwards/sidewards) and lightly tense your abdominal muscles
  • Take small steps and look out for tripping hazards
  • When you arrive at the “drop-off zone", set things down the way you lifted them - carefully!
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to consult your chiropractor.